5 Classic Christmas Movies

Holiday movies may come bundled in colorful, playful, exciting packaging, but have a way of playing to our soft sides, reminding us year after year of the values we often neglect in our busy, modern lives. Of all of the favorite Christmas films enjoyed each year, here is a shortlist of some of the best Christmas classics.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Plot Synopsis: Upset with how materialistic the Christmas season has become, Charlie Brown embarks on a project to get his community to realize the true spirit of the holidays.

Actors: Peter Robbins as the voice of Charlie Brown, Bill Melendez as the voice of Snoopy, Karen Mendelson as the voice of Patty, Geoffrey Ornstein as the voice of Pig-Pen, Chris Doran as the voice of Schroeder, Christopher Shea as the voice of Linus, Kathy Steinberg as the voice of Sally, Tracy Stratford as the voice of Lucy

What Makes this Film a Classic: Charlie Brown’s heart is always in the right place. What other kid would pick out a forlorn little fir tree and recognize its Christmas charm as much as any big, fancy tree? It’s a big lesson, simply put and endearingly packaged.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Plot: Irked by all things joyful, the Grinch refuses to endure another holiday season in his cave while the Whos in the neighboring town of Whoville carry on with Christmas cheer.

Actors: Boris Karloff as Narrator/The Grinch

What Makes this Film a Classic: Dr. Seuss’s characters are always memorable ones, and the Grinch is no exception. There’s no better way to be reminded of the power of giving than by watching Christmas joy get the better of this monster’s cold, cold soul.

White Christmas (1954)

Plot: A popular song-and-dance duo (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) meet up with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and find themselves on an adventure to a struggling Vermont inn for Christmas. Once they find out that the owner of the inn is their old army general, they come up with a plan to give him the best Christmas gift imaginable.

Actors: Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Danny Kaye as Phil Davis, Rosemary Clooney as Betty Haynes, Vera-Ellen as Judy Haynes, Dean Jagger as Major General Thomas F. Waverly

What Makes this Film a Classic: Love, loyalty, and the spirit of Christmas combine to provide good old fashioned entertainment.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Plot: After being kicked out of the reindeer group because of his embarrassingly red nose, Rudolph and his elf friend Hermey befriend an island of misfit toys. Wanting to help these toys, Rudolph goes to the foggy North Pole to try to convince Santa to take these toys on board. Seeing Rudolph, Santa has another idea that will help the toys and Christmas.

Actors: Burl Ives as the voice of Sam the Snowman, Billie Mae Richards as the voice of Rudolph, Stan Francis as the voice of Santa Claus, Paul Soles as Hermey

What Makes this Film a Classic: One of the Original Television Christmas Classics, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been a TV tradition for the holiday season for decades, teaching the values of acceptance, love, teamwork, friendship and giving.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Plot: In a desperate moment just before Christmas, George Bailey (James Stewart) contemplates suicide, thinking that his family and business would be better off if he had never existed. An angel appears to help George and together, they take a trip through what the world would be like if George Bailey had never lived. Seeing his family and his community in that way, George realizes that he wants to live and that there is nothing better than to share the joys of life with loved ones.

Actors: James Stewart as George Bailey, Donna Reed as Mary Hatch, Henry Travers as Clarence

What Makes this Film a Classic: After watching this movie, it’s impossible to hear a bell ring and not think of angels. Now, that’s true Christmas magic to last all year.

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